Kook by Chris Vick
Illustrated by: n/a
Published: 2016, Harper Collins
Length: 389 pages
Narrated By: N/A
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, YA Romance, Realistic Fiction, British Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, YA
Where Did I Get It? I got a copy as part of my ticket for YALC 2016
Blurb: Kook: (surfer slang): a learner, a wannabe.
Fifteen-year old Sam has moved from the big city to the coast of England—stuck there with his mom and sister on the edge of nowhere.
Then he meets beautiful but damaged surfer-girl Jade. Soon he’s in love with her, and with surfing itself. But Jade is driven by an obsession: finding a legendary huge wave no one has ever ridden.
As the weeks wear on, their relationship barrels forward with the force of a deep-water wave—into a storm, danger…and heartbreak.
Jade got me in trouble from day one.
My Review: Wow, Kook was not the book I expected from when I picked it up, but it was truly incredible.
I will confess to expecting a bit of a fluffy summer–surfer-romance set in sunny Cornwall and it is very much not that at all, but it was brilliant.
There is Cornwall and there’s definitely surfers, there’s even some summer, but it was nothing like I was expecting.
Kook is gritty and hard-hitting, touching on subjects such as drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and family loss but the edges are softened by a blossoming romance between Sam and Jade – which is as bumpy as any teenage romance in reality – and also by Sam’s new-found love of the ocean.
If nothing else Kook is a love-letter to the ocean. From the gentle blue sea of summer, to the roaring, grey beast of autumn and winter – the water is a character in itself and the book sings with love for it. Love, fear and respect.
I know nothing about surfing and neither does Sam at the start of the book – I loved discovering it through his eyes. I felt the rush as he stood on the board for the first time (for a split second) and was almost as eager for him to get back in the water again and again as he was.
His troubled relationship with Jade was beautifully crafted and the highs and lows were biting and brilliant – it felt like a genuine, confusing, all-consuming teenage relationship that left you exhilarated and exhausted.
Jade has been forever changed by her parents’ behaviour and seeks solace from them in her friends, drugs, drink and, most of all, the ocean. She dreams of hitting it big in the free-surfing world, of discovering the fabled Devil’s Horns island and riding a monster wave that puts her on the surfing map. She dreams of escaping any way she can that involves a surfboard and the ocean.
Her dreams, ultimately, break Sam’s heart.
Kook will batter you and leave your heart broken on the rocks of the Cornish coast whilst you bleed out nothing but love for the ocean itself. A shatteringly beautiful read.
My Rating: 4.5/5*